“Read your Bible”, “Be in the Word everyday”, “Memorize verses!” Those repeated instructions would echo throughout my childhood years, and well into my young adult life until I became numb to the message. As a teenager, my grandparents gave me One Year-Bibles every other year until my shelves were filled. It wasn’t that I was fighting or arguing with the suggestion. How could I? I was a Christian and agreed with them in principle. I knew they were right, but I guess I felt I didn’t have time to read something that long, and well…let’s face it, as dry as the Old Testament sounded back then.
Years would pass before I found myself in a Bible study in my early thirties, searching for something more than just another topical study that required 30 minutes worth of work the night before the study group met. Don’t get me wrong. The Bible studies were great, but there had to be more. I felt like we were all reading movie reviews, watching the trailers, discussing certain scenes, and pretending to know the whole script plot without ever seeing the entire movie! It was foolish to think that’s all we needed. What we needed was context. We needed to know where we came from to know where we were. We needed to read God’s entire plan for our lives.
So, I dusted off a couple copies of those One Year Bibles that had occupied shelf space for the last 15 years and gave one to a good friend and neighbor of mine. For the next year, we read. And that year, our eyes were opened to the message that had long since faded from my youth. My friend and I had so much to discuss each day that we could have held 7 Bible studies a week and still not have had enough time to cover it all. Like empty vessels, we were absolutely filled and topped off with the Lord’s message of salvation, love and purpose for our lives. How could I have missed this for so many years? Why had I resisted for so long? I’ll save those answers for another day, but I can assure you that nothing can replace the impact and power of digging into God’s word on a daily basis…nothing.